Local books scam

Thanks to Michael Whitehead for this piece, that he wrote for this website


I was very pleased to be sitting at my computer when an ‘alert’ popped into my inbox telling me that two new books had been published about local matters.  One was all about Cresswell, the other all about the old railway station at Totmonslow.

I thought: wow, these would make pretty good gifts.  So I clicked on to the link.

Cover of Cresswell book

Cover of Cresswell book

Immediately I was suspicious.  The Cresswell book cost 45 Euros, and the railway book cost 34 Euros.  That’s a lot of money!
Also, the photo on the webpage of the book-cover showed a lake. There’s no lake in Cresswell!

The next thing was the book blurb.  The first line read: “Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online.”  What was this?
Well, it turned out that the book just consists of material ‘scooped’ from the internet.
(It is legal to just copy material from Wikipedia, so long as you do an ‘attribution’, so the book-makers are perfectly within the law to do what they are doing!)

There is not even a proper author – a computer just sucks up relevant stuff off the web and the same computer probably even arranges it.  I would even guess that a hardcopy book is not created until someone orders one.
So, as you might have guessed by now: if a computer is doing it, it can create a package based on anything in Wikipedia.  The company behind this project have literally tens of thousands of so-called ‘books’ on their catalogue.


The whole thing is a scam of course; a legal scam, but still a scam.  Everything in the book is already available free on the internet!
Some bloggers have written posts about how angry they feel about this.

However I suppose that won’t stop people buying such ‘books’.  Some people have more money than sense; or may have been fooled by the internet site.
And I suppose that even I would be curious to know what the actual books looked like though.  Did anyone buy one?

PS – you can’t buy these books on Amazon any more.  Amazon has stopped selling them, thank Goodness.


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